The Pact

In 2005, the Wright-Carter family made a pact to reduce their carbon footprint after learning about global warming and resource decline.  Akin, the youngest son, 8 years old at the time, challenged us all to not continue to ’mess up’ his future.  As a family, we vowed to do all we could to prepare ourselves and others for an energy descent. We wore coats and hats indoors upon setting the thermostat to 65.  We traveled to hold workshops to inform others about this imminent reality that would be front row center of our recent future.  In 2006, we established Black Oaks Center as a not for profit to facilitate the mission of equipping youth and families with the skills of sustainability to be lifeboats in times to come.  Young and old engaged in collective design charrettes of the 40 acre “eco campus” in Pembroke Township Il. Envisioning it to be a place where the community can learn these skills.  In 2009, we moved out of our near 3000 square foot deluxe Chicago Bungalow into an off grid, 580 square foot Mennonite storage unit we re purposed to be our home on the eco campus complete with outdoor compost toilets and a wood stove.  The motivation?  to “fall” down the rabbit hole into an alternate reality of a low carbon life so we could help others do the same when the impact of constrained energy, a destabilized environment and low to no growth economics would tailor more and more of our lives.  Our hearts and our vision were much bigger than our budget as we worked hard to be innovative and self-reliant.    We had to master the skills of sustainability so that we could support others in doing the same.  As we approach our 11th winter off grid, we are still striving to master the skills of sustainability.  Both the sacred and the challenge of living close to the earth a sculpted us.  The living a simple life, well inside our means has allowed up to maintain the pact, to stay on the mission. 

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Dr. Jifunza Wright is a family physician and an organic farmer who has been using food as medicine for decades.

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